President Nikos Christodoulides said on Thursday that twice-yearly exams at schools have failed, and legal reforms need to be made to abolish them.
Speaking after his visit to the Pefkios Georgiades primary school, Christodoulides also said that they want full-day education to be provided at all primary schools in Cyprus.
The president was accompanied by Education Minister Athena Michaelidou, Government Spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis, and Deputy Government Spokeswoman Doxa Komodromou.
During his visit, President Christodoulides had a meeting with the school’s management, toured the classrooms, and talked to the students.
Speaking after the visit, he said that primary school is the first line of education, and that it is important to achieving the goals set in education.
“I am visiting a model full-day school and I am excited by what I have seen and heard. Our goal is to expand the institution of full-day schools universally in primary education, where it is clearly easier, and to also see pilots in secondary education, where the challenges are much greater,” he said.
Christodoulides added that in the context of the discussions he had with the school bodies, he noted issues that arise and asked the education minister in the coming days to prepare a specific note with solutions and timetables, so that any challenges that exist can be addressed and to further strengthen the effectiveness of full-day schools.
Commenting on the twice-yearly exams, which continue to draw controversy, the president said that they should be abolished as they have failed to achieve the goals prescribed.
He added that he agrees with the abolition of the twice-yearly exams, but there should be something else in the matter of examining students, as within a school year there cannot be a different exam in the first four months and a different one in the second.
“The twice-yearly exams with a legal reform should be abolished as of next September,” he said.
Christodoulides said he spoke with Michaelidou about the matter, and the weight of the grades achieved on the twice-yearly exams on students’ final marks.
He added that he would discuss the issue with the attorney-general on Thursday afternoon.
In response to a question on whether the content and the teaching methods in schools will also be reviewed, Christodoulides said that the material is a key subject of examination by the government, as the aim is to move away from an approach focused on covering material, without its importance is downplayed, and the development of students’ skills and critical thinking through the education system.
Finally, when asked about the government’s thoughts on the low performance of students in the Greek language, the president replied that the review of the material and teaching method will place special emphasis on the Greek language.